Changing Lifestyles, Keeping Children Safe: FDAC in Care Proceedings

Launched in January 2008, the Family Drug and Alcohol Court is a new way of dealing with care proceedings when parental substance misuse causes harm to children

This report presents the findings from an independent evaluation of the pilot Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC).

The pilot was funded by the Department for Education, the Ministry of Justice, the Home Office, the Department of Health and three inner-London local authorities (Camden, Islington, and Westminster). Since April 2012, when government funding came to an end, the FDAC specialist team has been funded by a consortium of five London authorities, including Southwark and Hammersmith & Fulham as well as the original three. The specialist team is provided by a partnership between the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust and the children’s charity, Coram.

The evaluation was conducted by a research team at Brunel University and was funded by the Nuffield Foundation and the Home Office.

Key findings

  • FDAC parents were offered more help than comparison parents for their substance misuse problems. FDAC played a significant role in this as it co-ordinated access to other community services.
  • Parents interviewed at either stage of the evaluation shared the same positive views including saying they would recommend FDAC to other parents.
  • Parents with previous experience of care proceedings found FDAC to be a more helpful court process, one that gave them a fair chance to change their lifestyle and parent their child well.